It’s no secret that the New York Workers’ Compensation process can be greatly inefficient, resulting that in huge time and financial waste for employees and employers alike. That’s why I’m encouraged to see the new Workers’ Compensation reforms that Governor Cuomo introduced in April.
These new reforms will bring over $800 million in savings to New York employers while simultaneously raising the minimum workers’ compensation amount from $100 to $150.
The maximum compensation amount will also be raised, going from $792.07 to $803.21, starting on July 1, 2013. These increases can make an important difference in the lives of minimum and low-wage workers afflicted by on-the job-injuries.
Most notably, the reform includes the closing of the “Reopened Case Fund.” The closing of this fund is beneficial to injured workers it will allow for faster resolution of claims. In the past, when stale claims were reopened, there would often be a significant delay in payment of medical and lost wage benefits while the insurance companies and Special Fund Conversation committee argued about who was liable. With the closing of the Fund, it should now be clear that the same insurance carrier would remain liable on the claim.
Other reforms include that the Workers’ Compensation Board will start to accept claims electronically this summer. This will cut down on paper-handling costs, enhance system oversight and ensure the timely payment of benefits to injured workers. Bravo.
While many more reforms will have to happen before the NY workers’ compensation system becomes a well-oiled machine, these changes are a definite step in the right direction.